HC Deb 03 April 1974 vol 871 cc1251-2
20. Mr. Elliott

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is aware of the delay caused by shortage of skilled labour in the building trade to schemes which have obtained grant approval in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; and if he will consider extending the period in which grants approved at 75 per cent. can be allowed.

Mr. Freeson

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) on 18th March.—[Vol. 870, c. 25–6.]

Mr. Elliott

I am aware of that answer. Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that the delay in presenting new legislation to introduce such grants as were embodied in the Housing and Planing Bill of the Conservative Government makes it essential to extend the present period of grant?

Mr. Freeson

Even had the Housing and Planning Bill introduced by the previous Government been proceeded with, there would still have been a problem arising on the point that the hon. Member has put to me. I am not sure, therefore, that the point he has now put in his supplementary question is entirely relevant.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Will my hon. Friend take into account the fact that because of the shortage of labour and materials many individuals are finding it extremely difficult to get their repairs and alterations done? Some of these people are elderly and have spent all their money on the houses in which they live and want to modernise them. Will my hon. Friend take that into account?

Mr. Freeson

Certainly. We are giving this matter urgent consideration, and I hope that shortly we shall be able to make a statement on the matter.

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